Retina MBP no Wifi AC?

Marrakas

macrumors 6502
May 23, 2012
407
111
Well, it's not exactly needed unless you do some heavy file transfers on your local network, which in case you'd be better off using a wired connection anyway.

I wouldn't mind it ofc, but I'm not at all disappointed.
 

ds.

macrumors member
Feb 18, 2012
45
3
Well, it's not exactly needed unless you do some heavy file transfers on your local network, which in case you'd be better off using a wired connection anyway.

I wouldn't mind it ofc, but I'm not at all disappointed.
The new MBP doesn't have ethernet so going wired isn't an option either. So I guess people who need to transfer files are out of luck if it wasn't included.
 

MacRumoren

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2010
67
1
Canada
Since I plan on keeping this new MBP for years to come, even though it won't affect me for another year since the new AC routers are not available yet, but for sure I will start regretting when the "only" new feature I could possibly want next year from the new MBP 2013 would be the new AC wifi.

Is it wishing thinking to "hope" for the AC firmware upgrade? :(
 

Marrakas

macrumors 6502
May 23, 2012
407
111
Yes that's not gonna happen since it's different hardware, so if it's not already in the chip, it can't be enabled through software. I also see no reason they wouldn't advertise it if it was already in the hardware.

802.11n should be enough for just about anybody at the moment. Unless you're streaming blu-ray movies from another computer or something.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,752
1,218
New Zealand
Yes that's not gonna happen since it's different hardware, so if it's not already in the chip, it can't be enabled through software. I also see no reason they wouldn't advertise it if it was already in the hardware.
Apple's early 802.11n-capable systems were only advertised as g. Apple then released a firmware update alongside the first n-capable AirPort Extreme.

However... people knew of it ahead of time by looking up the specs of the chipset. I don't know whether anyone's done that with the new models yet.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
According to iFixit the chip is a 802.11n chip:



The BCM4331 IEEE 802.11n solution delivers full 3x3 with three transmitting and three receiving streams of data in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Increased number of streams and antennas results in faster speeds, longer range, fewer dropped connections, and better overall wireless coverage.
http://www.broadcom.com/products/Wireless-LAN/802.11-Wireless-LAN-Solutions/BCM4331


I don't know enough about the 802.11ac spec to know if this chip is compatible via a firmware update, but I would suspect not.
 

frenchglen

macrumors newbie
Jul 2, 2011
3
1
so..just confirming: we WILL be able to physically upgrade to a future 802.11ac chip since this looks to be a slot in, non-soldered chip??

kinda crucial for people like MacRumoren and me who want to think about 3 years' time, not just now.
 

jcpb

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2012
860
0
so..just confirming: we WILL be able to physically upgrade to a future 802.11ac chip since this looks to be a slot in, non-soldered chip??

kinda crucial for people like MacRumoren and me who want to think about 3 years' time, not just now.
By the time 802.11ac starts being commonplace, work on getting 802.11-terahertz will have started and make AC look unacceptably slow.

Might as well not buy anything to begin with :rolleyes:
 

gentlefury

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2011
2,848
0
Los Angeles, CA
Yes that's not gonna happen since it's different hardware, so if it's not already in the chip, it can't be enabled through software. I also see no reason they wouldn't advertise it if it was already in the hardware.

802.11n should be enough for just about anybody at the moment. Unless you're streaming blu-ray movies from another computer or something.
iPod Touch 2 had Bluetooth on the chip...but didn't have bluetooth when it was released. In the next OS update they patched it and enabled it. It could be possible....doubtful...but not impossible.
 

squeeks

macrumors 68040
Jun 19, 2007
3,392
15
Florida
See why here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review/13

The next-gen MacBook Pro is equipped with a decidedly this-gen wireless stack. In other words it uses the same 3x3:3 WiFi solution that was present in the 2011 MacBook Pro and is present in the non-Retina 2012 MacBook Pro as well: Broadcom’s BCM4331.

Like a good silicon company Apple appears to mitigate risk in design by sticking with known-good components wherever possible. Major changes to the industrial design are typically paired with comparatively minor silicon changes, and other components are kept as static as possible so long as they don’t overly compromise experience. While 802.11ac dongles and routers are just arriving today, Apple likely froze the Retina MBP’s wireless configuration quite a while ago. Rather than be caught shipping potentially unratified hardware, Apple went the safe route and stuck with 802.11n.

Read more at http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/...-retina-display-review/13#4m3Vw2rkjFsQSyup.99
 

jcpb

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2012
860
0
Wait a year, your keyword is BCM4335 - and production starts in Q1 2013.
 

wethackrey

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2007
259
17
Redondo Beach, California
The new MBP doesn't have ethernet so going wired isn't an option either. So I guess people who need to transfer files are out of luck if it wasn't included.
Well that's just a foolish statement. The MBPr DOES have Gigabit Ethernet support. It has an onboard Broadcom BCM57100 series Gigabit Ethernet/Memory Card reader controller. It just lacks the RJ45 connector. You need the Thunderbolt/GigE adapter to connect to it (explaining why the adapter is only $29, by the way). This is a far cry from the computer not having Ethernet. Frankly, I think needing the adapter for the rare times you won't be using WiFi is a great trade-off for being able to deliver a computer as thin and light-weight as the MBPr.
 

wethackrey

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2007
259
17
Redondo Beach, California
It would surprise me if Apple could write firmware that enabled hardware that isn't on their computer.
I frankly don't know if the Broadcom WiFi chipset in the MBPr can support 802.11ac. It is possible, and it would not be unprecedented.

Apple has actually done this once before. In January 2007, as Apple prepared to roll out the 802.11n Airport Extreme base station, the company announced that many existing Intel-based Macs sold as supporting 802.11g, could be "unlocked" with a software patch to support the draft 802.11n specification (The n specification wasn't actually ratified by the IEEE until September 2009). This was great news for those of us who had MacBooks that we thought were limited to 802.11g.

There was some controversy about it at the time because Apple was forced to charge $4.99 for the "upgrade" as a consequence of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. (For some fascinating reading about poorly conceived legislation in the US, do a Google search on "Sarbanes-Oxley and unintended consequences".)

One thing to note about 802.11ac is that it will be limited to 433Mbps with a single antenna. It supports 8 bonded 433Mbps streams, for a total of about 7Gbps, but, at this point anyway, each spatial stream requires a separate antenna. Cramming up to eight antennas inside an ultra-thin laptop will be a challenge. It's unlikely that the WiFi subsystem in the MBPr has multiple antennas, even if the chipset secretly supports 802.11ac. And, since the Broadcom BCM4331 is pretty well understood at this point I think it's unlikely to be able to converted to "ac" with software
 
Last edited:

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
According to Anandtech's review 3 spatial streams are used since the 2011 MBP, therefore, in my understanding, there are indeed 3 antennae in the MBP.
 

wethackrey

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2007
259
17
Redondo Beach, California
According to Anandtech's review 3 spatial streams are used since the 2011 MBP, therefore, in my understanding, there are indeed 3 antennae in the MBP.
Well that would be cool. That would mean you could expect to get ~1.2Gb on an 802.11ac card that would fit in a case the size of a MBPr.

I guess I need to get back over to Anand's site.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
Well that would be cool. That would mean you could expect to get ~1.2Gb on an 802.11ac card that would fit in a case the size of a MBPr.

I guess I need to get back over to Anand's site.
Check out the 2011 Airport extreme and time capsule review. The info is there.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.